The following article written by Eugene Herbert, chief executive officer of MasterDrive, looks at how fuel price and future forecasts, now termed a ‘crisis’, have a major impact on the trucking industry – with the subsequent additional impact that consumer goods are soaring. This is the first part of a two-part article.
The recent fuel price increases – to all-time-highs in South Africa – as well as the volatility of projections, have put various levels of panic into the business and private sectors.
The trucking industry is the backbone of society. Most industries rely on trucks to receive their stock and when the price jumps as drastically as what it has recently, a portion of this is inevitably passed down to the consumer. Trucking operators also need to absorb some of the cost, placing a lot of strain on operations.
As prices continue to rise and uncertainty remains about what is still to come, fleet operators must find ways to reduce their fuel costs as much as possible. Fuel use represents up to 39% of a fleet’s cost-per-mile (imperial system stats) according to the American Transportation Research Institute.
On behalf of MasterDrive, we have compiled several tips and considerations for businesses with fleets and those involved in logistics, which includes both changes to driving behaviour and technology that can assist in cost-management.
Be proactive: ideally, it’s too late to react to rising fuel costs after the fact. Owners and managers should understand how their fleet operates so they already know which fuel-saving strategies work best for their particular organisation.
Drivers are responsible for 30% of your fuel consumption and teaching your drivers fuel-efficient driving techniques can have a major impact. Hiring, educating and incentivising drivers to achieve the best fuel-efficiency is one of the most effective ways to reduce fuel consumption.
Some of the points to consider are as follows:
- Plan your routes: plenty of petrol is wasted by not making your route as efficient as possible.
- Stay on route: educate drivers on the importance of reducing out-of-route trips and use telematics to ensure drivers avoid this.
- Idling: avoid idling for longer than 30 seconds.
- Slow down: by decreasing your speed by just 20km/h you can improve your fuel consumption by up to 20%.
- Tyre management: get drivers to regularly check tyre pressure and be aware when tyres need general maintenance. It can make a huge difference to fuel consumption.
- Lighten the load: encourage drivers to remove any unnecessary items from their vehicles after a trip. As a rule of thumb – thus it could be much more or less – each unnecessary item increases consumption by 1%.
If your organisation has already implemented these driving techniques, there is more you can do that could substantially reduce your fuel-spend. This involves factors that you can install into your vehicles or features to understand that will assist in reducing some of the largest consumers of fuel.
Continued in Part 2…